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Published on November 1st, 2015 | by Jim Lee

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Irish registered Airbus A321-231 destroyed in an accident central Sinai, Egypt

We regret to report than an Irish registered Airbus A321-231, was destroyed in an accident in central Sinai, Egypt. Based on media reports, quoting Egyptian officials, there are no survivors from the 217 passengers and seven crew on board. The aircraft, EI-ETJ, was registered on 30th March 2012, to Wilmington Trust SP Services (Dublin) Ltd., with an address at 7 Exchange Place, IFSC, Dublin 1, and was operated by Russian airline Metrojet (formerly Kogalym Avia or Kolavia for short,). The aircraft first flew on 9th May 1997 making it 18½ years old, and was leased to MEA as F-OHMP from ILFC and delivered on 27th May 1997. It was returned in 2003 and leased to Onur Air as TC-OAE on 29th May 2003. It spent a short period with Saudi Arabian Airlines on lease from Onur Air and following its service with Onur Air with it was placed in storage in March 2012. The aircraft was leased to Kolavia on 27th April 2012, as EI-ETJ and subsequently served with Metrojet Russia from 1st May 2012. Metrojet is based in Kogalym, Tyumen in Russia and operates services from its Kogalym and Surgut hubs, as well as from a base at Moscow Domodedovo Airport. It also operates international charter services to leisure destinations. In addition to EI-ETJ, it has four other Irish registered Airbus A321s, EI-ETH, EI-ETK, EI-ETL and EI-FSB. As Kolavia, the airline started operations in May 1993 and on 21st April 2014 Metrojet announced a merger agreement with Samara Oblast governor Nikolai Merkushin, with the carrier to merge with Air Samara. A management company was to be established in Samara to oversee the integration process, which was expected to be completed within three years. Current Metrojet director General Sergei Mordvintsev was due to be appointed director general of the new carrier.

Metrojet flight path (Flightradar 24)

Metrojet flight path (Flightradar 24)

Available incident details

We understand that Metrojet flight 9268 took off from Sharm el Sheikh at 05:49 hours local time (03:49 UTC) on 31st October enroute to St. Petersburg. It followed airway R650 to the north along the shoreline of the Gulf of Aqaba. Overhead the Nuweibaa (NWB) NDB at FL210, the aircraft turned left, heading 340° to cross the Sinai Peninsula and was climbing through FL307 out of Sharm el Sheikh over the Sinai Peninsula (Position N30.16 E34.17, 60nm south of Al-Arish) at 04:12Z, when it disappeared from radar. Flight tracking website Flightradar24 shows the aircraft climbing to 30,875 feet, after which it shows erratic altitudes and speed indications. Last altitude recorded was 27,925 feet at a speed of 62 knots. Wreckage of the aircraft was later located in mountainous terrain about 20nm south of Al-Arish (Sinai, Egypt).

Airbus confirmed the loss of EI-ETJ, and that the aircraft, powered by IAE V2533 engines, had accumulated approximately 55,772 flight hours in 21,175 flight cycles.

In line with our policy, Flying in Ireland does not engage in speculation as to cause of Aviation accidents. For readers interested in following the unfolding events we refer you here to the Aviation Herald’s coverage, where in our experience, Simon Hradecky manages the information, now in the public domain, in a dispassionate and balanced way.

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About the Author

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Jim has had a life-long interest in military matters and aviation. Initially, he fused both of these interests together with a passion for military aviation, initially as a photographer. He has travelled extensively over the years and has been the guest of many European air forces, plus the air forces of the United States, Russia and others throughout the world. His first introduction to journalism coincided with an interest in the civil aviation industry was when he initially wrote for and later edited, ‘Aviation Ireland’, the club magazine of the Aviation Society of Ireland. Jim was a contributor to Flying in Ireland since its inception over 10 years ago and is now a key contributor to this site. He has also contributed items for a number of other aviation magazines and has produced a number of detailed contributions to Government policy documents, most recently the Irish Government’s White Paper on Defence. He is also deeply involved in the local community and voluntary sector and has worked both in local government and central government.



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